Kauai Gets Tough As Hawaii Travel Rule Violators Get Jail To Airport Tour

Lulled Into Complacency, Hawaii Just Eclipsed 23 Mainland States’ Rates

The low number of Hawaii Covid cases had been enviable throughout the epidemic. Until now. The House Committee on Covid met yesterday and was informed that the state has gone from being at or near the bottom to higher than 23 mainland states in its Covid positivity rate. That according to John Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center.

Who is to blame for the reversal in cases?

Everything we’ve seen points in the direction of Hawaii residents spreading the virus through gatherings, among other things. Yesterday, state officials and others, asked the public to return to mask-wearing, and social distancing, so that the state does not need to enforce further action to stop the spread.

Furthermore, most new cases are said to be among Hawaii residents and are often associated with residents returning home from travel with resulting community spread. That, rather than being a result of tourist arrivals. It appears far less likely for tourists, many of whom are vaccinated, to be in as close contact with residents compared with those who live here and are returning. Las Vegas, ultra-popular among Hawaii residents, has been considered one breeding ground of Hawaii infections.

We thought things were going well here in Hawaii until suddenly they weren’t. 

Since this epidemic began last year, Hawaii has been blessed with numbers low enough that many of us felt largely outside the scope of problems the mainland was facing. In fact, the State’s House Committee, too, had taken a relaxed approach and had not even met for 5 months, with problems seemingly in check. Now, however, things have changed.

In spite of this, for the moment, Hawaii travel roars on.

Currently, the state has not indicated any further changes planned that might impact tourism. And, visitors from the US mainland are still arriving in record numbers, as seen in the latest image below.

Hawaii’s concerns are multifaceted.

Hawaii first is worried about its limited medical capacity. That is very real, especially outside of Honolulu. And even in Honolulu, with most of the state’s resources, hospitalizations have gone up significantly in just the past few weeks.

The state, too, is concerned that any Covid policies and procedures changes could impact its still-fragile economy and the all-important Hawaii tourism engine. Senate chair Saiki said that already, “People are concerned we’re going to revert.”

Hawaii hospitals under pressure.

The limited island medical facilities are strained due to inadequate staffing of doctors and nurses and increased caseloads. Some hospitals are again postponing elective surgeries. Lt. Gov. Josh Green said, “The best way, of course, to deal with this hospital surge is to not have it.”  He added, ” there’ll be a lot of discussions to bring the heat down in coming weeks.” Green would like to see a new reduced limit on the size of gatherings implemented.

As a regular BOH commenter, David pointed out, “Lack of medical professionals in Hawaii, especially outside of Oahu/ Honolulu, is nothing new. Multiple reasons. Difficult state licensing requirements may be one of them, but also the cost of living versus pay rates and isolation from other professionals (few colleagues to consult with)… OK, there is no good place to have a heart attack, but if you are going to have one, get back to the mainland first. Serious trauma injuries (e.g., vehicle crashes of which we have plenty) get flown to Honolulu as a matter of routine.”

Are you less inclined to visit Hawaii now with COIVD numbers on the rise?


78 thoughts on “Lulled Into Complacency, Hawaii Just Eclipsed 23 Mainland States’ Rates”

  1. Hawaii state government and the fools that elect them will still blame tourism for all the islands woes! Notice there is demographic data on who is infected. And furthermore, positivity is mostly an non issue without relevant hospitalization and death statistics.

  2. I follow this blog all the time. It’s great. BUT… I can’t believe in the entire article you didn’t address the obvious reason – vaccinations! The lack of vaccination of Hawaii residents combined with the highly contagious Delta variant is a recipe for disaster. Masks and social distancing are good, but vaccination is the Island’s best defense. Your article doesn’t mention it, but I suspect the vast majority of the hospitalized cases are among unvaccinated residents. Hawaii had the chance – the perfect opportunity since you had low COVID rates while the mainland was getting hammered – to lead the way by following shut down with high vaccination rates, but blew it. So sad.

  3. The CDC has documented an IFR (Infection Fatality Ratio) for Covid of 0.26%. That means 99.7% of people who get infected will be ok.

    With a survival rate like that, case counts are irrelevant. Covid is an inconvenient seasonal flu, nothing more. In 2018 Hawaii had 834 deaths from influenza, but there was no travel ban, limitations on gatherings, mask mandates, etc. How is it that there is so much concern over Covid when there was none for influenza, a demonstrably more deadly virus, at least in Hawaii’s case?

  4. Same as San Francisco during the Spanish flu Pandemic. Rounds 1,2 they had low numbers because they followed the guidelines
    However when the 3 wave hit they were not.They Stop following the safety measures. Bad press or what ever. The citizens of SF where hit with very high numbers.
    Something like now, the numbers are up going up, our state still opens the state for business.

    1. Speaking of San Fran..

      How is the most masked up and vaccinated large city……having a Covid Spike, reinstating mandates, and still scared?

      Weird huh?

      1. Florida is now the national leader in Covid deaths. Most of those infected are reportedly in the 20 to 40 year old range. Hospitals are overwhelmed,and the Governor won’t mandate masks.

        Texas is bringing in out of State nurses. Hospitals are overwhelmed, and the Governor won’t mandate masks.

        I’m glad to see that Hawaii, as well as other responsible leaders in many States are working to protect their residents, by mandates to keep the number of infections lower.

  5. The Vaccine exception to travel is useless and causing more spread. My Chiropractor and her two friends were all vaccinated and still caught COVID 3 weeks ago. My Aunty and Uncle were vaccinated and are positive right now. The vaccines do a good job at minimizing the affect of the virus, but it’s not preventing infection. Allowing travelers into the state without verifying negative results is what is causing the virus to spread. Require negative tests for all.

  6. My wife & I have spent the months of summer & fall in Waikiki and Maui for years, but that ended abruptly in 2020, and I would not consider returning regularly– It was wonderful when we thought of it as the rhythm of our lives to spend almost half a year in such a culture, but its danger of disease is a mirror image of what native Hawai’ians unknowingly absorbed when Anglo-Europeans found the Sandwich Is. and infected them.

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